What if you gave a press conference attacking the President of the United States and no one showed up, especially the media?
What if you sue a major hotel chain and no one cares, except for those who oppose you and they only take note to laugh at you?
Such is the lot of self-proclaimed anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera.
One thing that the lgbt community doesn't seem to be giving that much attention to (with the planning of marches, fighting against anti-gay marriage laws, etc.) is the rapid and continued fall of LaBarbera from steadfast anti-gay activist to man with a serious problem.
The bio on his Americans for Truth webpage brags about his participation in groups such as Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and his short stint as leader of the Illinois Family Institute.
It also talks about how many times he was interviewed by the national media and show such as James Dobson's Focus on the Family.
LaBarbera has gone from those so-called extreme highs to the lowest of low - featuring obscene pictures on his webpage.
Those pictures are what he is known for. They are why he is referred to in some circles as "Porno Petey."
No matter how many changes and nuances the religious right goes through, the lgbt community can always count on LaBarbera to attend leather events and "street fairs" with his camera, looking for "filthy images" to publicize on his webpage as an example of the so-called real face of lgbt America. And he always makes sure to give "loving detail" to the acts featured in the pictures.
I'm not one to usually make psychological judgements on people, so don't hold it against me when I call LaBarbera a living breathing Freudian slip.
I would love to know how many have looked on LaBarbera's page and moved from disgust over the pictures to wondering just what is in the mind of the person who took the pictures.
I guess it's better than wondering how many folks looked at LaBarbera's page in attempts to "pleasure themselves." I'm sure there are some of those out there.
LaBarbera is also a perfect example of how stridency can backfire. Uusually when someone falls in the mud, they lift themselves up and try to wipe the mud from their bodies.
LaBarbera has not only remained in the mud, but he has taken the iniative to rub it all over clean parts of his body.
And it is having an effect on his reputation amongst his peers, whether they want to admit it or not.
LaBarbera claims to have spent many, many years fighting the alleged gay agenda but it was the hate group Mass Resistance that was invited to lead a workshop on this so-called agenda during next month's conservative conference, Take Back America.
Also, notice how quickly another anti-gay spokesperson, Matt Barber, has moved up in the religious right food chain.
Barber has gone from fired AllState employee to a spokesperson of Concerned Women for America, to a "dean" at the conservative Liberty University and a promiment position at the equally conservative Liberty Counsel. And to top it off, every now and then, he writes a column for the widely read Town Hall.
And all the while this was happening, the most LaBarbera has accomplished is to fish for donations for his Americans for Truth webpage.
LaBarbera is an embarrassment to the religious right. He is their "Bull Connor," throwing a monkey wrench into their fascade of "love the sinner, but hate the sin."
The only places he is taken seriously is One News Now (which probably publishes his comments out of pity), various conservative blogs (which are as strident as he), and blogs like mine, Goodasyou.org and Pams House Blend (in actuality, we don't take him that seriously. He is good for a laugh or pointing out the hypocrisies of the religious right).
Deep down, I like LaBarbera . . . as a relic.
No matter how bad things seem, his bleatings and single minded attempts of "digging deep" into the so-called gay subculture is a reminder of how far we have come as a people. And provides a good laugh amongst me and my friends.
But by no means should the lgbt community dance on LaBarbera's grave. LaBarbera is inflicted with that type of steadfast crazy seen only in horror movies where the monster continues to stalk even after being shot, stabbed, karated, etc.
In other words, he doesn't know when to quit and he doesn't know when or how to change. The lgbt community might as well get used to it and work it for our own purposes.
But all in all, I envision a future where LaBarbera is an old man sitting on a stoop somewhere, his body bent and quivering with age (and hopefully his chin drooling unwiped spittle and corn mush) while muttering about those "damn homosexuals."
Mentally, I think he is already there.
Picture taken from Pams House Blend.